Book Review, Posts

Everybody Lies – Seth Stephens

EverybodyLies
Audible Audio-book
  • Title: Everybody Lies – Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
  • Author: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Recommendation Score: 4/5

Book Review

The key idea of the book is the following: people lie to everyone, but when they are alone in front of Google, they confess their deepest secrets. Therefore, using Google (anonymous) research data is very helpful in several domains, including social sciences, medicine, marketing, political campaigns, etc.

The book is divided into 3 parts. The first two parts emphasize the importance of data, and the fact that almost ‘anything’ can be data; pictures, words, any real-world measurements, etc. The author gives interesting insights about the potential uses of Big Data. However, in some paragraphs, the importance and usefulness of Big Data seems to be exaggerated. In other paragraphs, some evident facts (in 2017) about data are presented as new discoveries.

The last part of the book is the most important part to me. It deals with questions such as:  how do we handle Big Data? Can we trust all data? What data? Data correlation vs. causality, how much is data relevant? Big Data and the empowerment of corporations and governments?

The book is interesting. To me, it was a good introduction to the applications of Big Data. I learned about the concept of A/B testing. Sometimes the reasoning and the conclusions does not sound convincing. The relevance of the correlations presented in some examples is not clear to me, and the author does not seem to try to dig deeper. Maybe it was not the intention of the book.

I think that the approach to data manipulation applied in “Factfulness“, by Hans Rosling, complements the approaches presented in this book.

Finally, what was my first motivation to read the book? I like Dr. House.

HouseMD_everybody_lies

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